A Multnomah County judge ruled Friday that the $1 million civil lawsuit against Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson will stay in Multnomah County. The case is being brought by Abram Goldman-Armstrong for Gibson's role in the May Day melee that took place at Goldman-Armstrong's Cider Riot.
The lawsuit alleges that Gibson and his Patriot Prayer organization incited violence at his cidery on May 1 and interfered with his business.
Gibson’s attorney James Buchal argued that public opinion in Multnomah County against his client would prevent a fair trial and suggested that Circuit Court Judge Andrew Lavin himself may be tainted by public opinion.
“That’s why your honor has to look into your own metaphysical soul and evaluate your own metaphysical conditions and evaluate with all of these attacks and events in the public isn’t that enough so that this fear pollutes and prevents a fair trial,” Buchal said.
The judge wasn’t convinced and denied the change of venue motion. The judge also denied a request by Goldman-Armstrong’s lawyers to subpoena a variety of communications from social media and Patriot Prayer members' cellphone carriers.
The next hearing will be an attempt to dismiss the lawsuit on the ground that it’s an attempt to silence Gibson’s free speech.
Gibson and five other Patriot Prayer members have been indicted on felony riot charges for their involvement in the May 1 brawl.